Facebook phone gossip flooded the Web this afternoon, hours after the popular blog TechCrunch reported that Facebook was readying its own handset – one that would presumably go head-to-head with the Apple iPhone. According to TechCrunch, the Facebook phone hardware would be built by a third-party developer, but the software would be developed in-house.
"Specifically, Facebook wants to integrate deeply into the contacts list and other core functions of the phone. It can only do that if it controls the operating system," TechCrunch chief Michael Arrington wrote today. Arrington says his source is someone with "knowledge of the project," which is a little vague, but then again, as Arrington points out, TechCrunch has been right about this sort of thing before.
A Facebook phone could be one of the few handsets able to compete with the iPhone. Facebook, after all, has the audience, and it has the popular ballast.
It's been an exceptionally good year for the social networking site: In July, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his site had hit the 500 million user mark. And then earlier this month, the analytics firm comScore reported that American users spent more time on Facebook – 41.1 million minutes – than they did on all Google sites, including YouTube and Gmail, combined. And despite some kerfuffles over privacy, the site's growth shows no sign of slowing.
"Facebook has been able to achieve scale in a way that no social network before it has done," Adam Ostrow, editor in chief of the social-media blog Mashable, told the Monitor recently. "In other words, most of your family, friends, and co-workers are already on there, making the cost of switching to something else – or turning it off entirely – way too high right now, at least if you want to be kept up to date."
So what would a Facebook phone look like? What would you like to see in a Facebook phone? Drop us a line in the comments section – and keep it civil, folks.